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The common chickweed (Stellaria media) is a cool-season annual plant native to Europe, which is often eaten by chickens. It is commonly also called Chickenwort, Craches, Maruns, Winterweed. The plant germinates in fall or late winter, then forms large mats of foliage. Flowers are small and white, followed quickly by the seed pods. This plant flowers and sets seed at the same time.In both Europe and North America this plant is an invasive weed of gardens , fields, and disturbed grounds. Control is difficult due to the heavy seed sets, although herbicides are effective when the plants are small. Common Chickweed is very competitive with small grains, and can produce up to 80% yield losses among barley.A. Davis, K. Renner, C. Sprague, L. Dyer, D. Mutch (2005). Integrated Weed Management. MSU.
Folklore The plant has uses in folk medicine. 17th century herbalist John Gerard recommended it as a remedy for mange. Modern herbalists prescribe it for skin diseases, bronchitis, rheumatic pains, arthritis and period pain. a poultice of chickweed can be applied to cuts, burns and bruises. Not all of these uses are supported by scientific evidence.
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